A Year of Reading: 2017

Meanwhile, Peri found solace in literature. Short stories, novels, poems, plays...she devoured whatever she could lay her hands on at the limited library at school. When there was nothing else to be found, she read encyclopedias. Devouring everything from Aardvark to Zombie, she came to know about things that, though of no current use in…

To Russia with Love

"Shiroka strana moya rodina" ("O vast is my country"), the people are singing. "There's no other country where a man breathes more freely." Swept up in the collective elation, Mom inhales as deep as she can, filling her lungs with what she will always describe as "that smell"--the Soviet institutional odor of dusty folders, karbolka…

A Wave of Gratitude

"You know, writers are like beekeepers. A writer is the thief of knowledge. And we beekeepers, we are honey stealers. In both cases, you have to be a hunter of dreams. Otherwise you cannot dream." -Adam Gollner (from an excellent article on Crete in Lucky Peach 7) Although I have a lot of recipes I…

For the Love of Matcha…and Lists

But little by little,as you left their voices behind,the stars began to burnthrough the sheets of clouds,and there was a new voicewhich you slowlyrecognized as your own,that kept you companyas you strode deeper and deeperinto the world,determined to dothe only thing you could do--determined to savethe only life you could save.-Mary Oliver ("The Journey")  Given…

An Act of Appreciation

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things.-Gilbert K. ChestertonToday I biked the 4 miles uphill to campus, taught an intermediate Russian class for a friend who was taking her Ph.D. exams and then went to a dissertation workshop. Afterwards, inspired by my new "let's get this thing done"…

Gnocchi for the New Year

Those of you who may catch the odd whisper, the odd squeak, so easily mistake my words for breezes rustling the dry reeds...But I've always been of a determined nature. Patient, they used to call me. I like to see a thing through to the end. -Margaret Atwood (The Penelopiad) Happy New Year, dear readers!…

Almost a "Bah! Humbug!"

"It makes one's mouth hurt to speak with such forced merriment." — David Sedaris (Holidays on Ice)Last time I think I was complaining about feeling like I wasn't getting out of the kitchen. Ironically, enough, now it's the exact opposite! After all, who in the world has time to cook these days? *big sigh of…